The trio gathered around the tree.
Brittle arms, cramping legs.
Within the grid, a step outside.
Makes for news, science class lectures.

The house was not so far.
Of a family name, everywhere.
Streets, the farm, and grocery stores.
Papers blotted with quiet faces.

Not a question, room to look.
Exit signs shall not apply.
Squeezing through a sighing fence.
Relying on nothing but word of mouth.

Someplace hides the safe spot.
A house on the edge, passably good.
An entryway with a doormat.
Fibers taught while colors dried.

Flashlights had given up.
Synthetics ’round ankles sealed.
They wondered of their tins and slips.
And questioned the history of reason.

The trio answered the moans of the sky.
And speculated on risk’s expense.
A sister’s nine-to-five, denied.
As boats and fish treaded blithely.

Those who claimed the aching land.
Fathers and sons in enterprise.
Made it clear that Here was theirs.
Winded brawn defiled.

Strangers out of solid work.
Fingers unseen by umbrellas.
Beards, their only lighted flare.
Seeking mercy near sharp whiskers.

Cat No. 49 of the 500 Cats Project

Question, but do not Question

the child etches “whys” into forsaken dust
heels cracked, swollen, the bluntness of shale
nowhere to be found, a necessary venture
untouched, but coarser as scorned wives scream
when batteries melt, and cigarettes curl
and water in the fountain will tempt
the most sensible of traveling birds
that harbor terrors on which newscasters feed
and face masks adore, eyes and brows
do shrivel in the face of deified plague
vague, calculated prospects
and suspects exiled as the arbitrary talk

*Cat No. 14 of the 500 Cats Project